ALAMEDA -- After 24 years of hanging out with the thousands of paperback and hardcover books in his little shop at 2170 Encinal Ave., Kevin Patrick is packing up and heading to Oregon.
The Brooklyn native has lived in Portland before, where he worked for six years at Powell Books and became so smitten with the store and the business that he wanted to start his own shop. But he didn't want to compete with Powell's, so he roamed around until he landed in Alameda where he set up his own stash of weight-bent wooden shelves laden with literature from the 1800s to contemporary works. His website describes his shop as having "thousands and thousands of nonfiction titles, including large selections on travel, boating, history, military history, philosophy, art, crafts, religion, science, automotive, engineering and too many categories to name."
The website is www.kevinpatrickbooks.com. Kevin Patrick Books will see its last day of business on Oct. 20. The next day, Patrick will leave the Island and go to Portland for good.
What this means to Patrick is not trekking, as he has for the past two years, between Alameda and Portland, Ore., where he moved to live at his mutually bookish friend's home a couple of years ago. They have joined forces in developing a Portland-based online book business, Dragon's Head Books.
What this means to Alameda and other East Bay book lovers is that during the remaining days of Kevin Patrick Books a "progressive sale" will happen, with prices decreasing as low as 50 to 75 percent off as the end of the business nears.
Longtime purveyors of the shop will recall the late Mr. Books, a lap cat and shop ambassador who enhanced the ambience of the quaint and page-crowded bookstore. Mr. Books and Patrick spent well more than a decade together minding the store and mingling with patrons.
Patrick loved his work, though the growing nibbles that online book sales took from his profits grew through the years, forcing the ongoing need to work second jobs. He's not as keen about selling books online and missing the fat-chewing sessions with customers, but he's very keen to work one job and live in one place.
Patrick said he was a typical Brooklyn native who never thought he would end up in California. "A California chauvinist," he called himself. Still, he said, after a while Alameda works its way with you; it "gets under your skin." He'll miss it.
The winters will be longer, wetter and colder in Portland. Not only a reader, bookseller and cat-fan, Patrick is also an artist. He based his business logo on his drawings of Mr. Books and he's looking forward to returning with his easel and brush to Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, a popular coastal spot for visitors and artists about 80 miles west of Portland. Between books, art, old and new friends and cats, he's looking forward to the next chapter.